Former Archbishop Arrested for Child Porn Kept Massive Cache of Files on his Vatican Computer

Former Archbishop Arrested for Child Porn Kept Massive Cache of Files on his Vatican Computer

A former archbishop placed under house arrest by the Vatican on Tuesday allegedly had 100,000 child pornography videos and images hidden on his work computer at the Holy See's compound in the Dominican Republic, according to a report in Italy's Il Corriere della Sera.

"The Vatican on Tuesday arrested a former archbishop accused of paying for sex with children while he was a papal ambassador in the Dominican Republic, the first-ever arrest inside the city state on charges of paedophilia. Jozef Wesolowski, a Pole who was defrocked by a Vatican tribunal in June, has been placed under house awaiting a criminal trial, the Vatican said in a statement," Reuters reports. This was the Holy See's first-ever arrest inside Vatican City on charges of pedophilia.

"A gallery of horrors was kept on his laptop," Il Corriere della Sera reports. "You see children aged between 13 and 17 humiliated in front of the camera, filmed naked, forced to have sex with each other and with adults."

The Vatican said the arrest reflects the wishes of Pope Francis "that such a grave and delicate case be handled without delay, with the just and necessary rigor."

The Pope had vowed "zero tolerance" against clergymen who sexually abuse children. In July, Francis met with victims of clerical sexual abuse for the first time in Vatican history, pledging the church officials responsible would be held accountable by the Vatican and likening the abuse to a "sacrilegious cult."

"Before God and his people, I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you, and I humbly ask forgiveness," the Los Angeles Times reported Francis as saying.

In 2013, Francis overhauled Vatican law to detailing sexual violence against children as a crime in an effort to address the damage inflicted on Catholic Church by years of sexual abuse scandals. Under the new rules, sexual crimes against minors and punishable by up to 12 years in prison.

Those overhauls are all well and good, but if it's this easy to keep child pornography on an official Vatican computer, it's obvious that the Holy See actually has a big enforcement problem on its hands. Just days after Wesolowski's arrest, the New York Times revealed that details of child sexual abuse that led to charges against a Pennsylvania priest "were reported to his Pennsylvania diocese nearly five years ago, court records show, but the church authorities did not remove him as a pastor." If the Vatican is serious about stamping out pedophilia in its ranks, the Holy See needs to keep a watchful eye within its walls and in the rest of the world.

Better tracking software shouldn't be that hard: If the Holy See can have a social media manager, it can keep kiddie porn off of its computers.

Editors Note: Mar. 3, 2015 

An earlier version of this article cited Reuters reporting, but did not include quotations around the cited passage. The story has been updated to fully attribute Reuters' language.